Dear Annie: I’ve been in an abusive marriage for nearly 15 years, and I can’t take another day. My husband has never hit me. It’s all mental and emotional abuse. He calls me horrible names in front of our children. He has constant tantrums where he screams, throws things, breaks things and threatens me, saying if I leave, he’ll kill me, destroy my life and take our children away. I have no access to money, and he has driven all of my friends away.
I have nowhere to go. There are no shelters in my rural area, and I’m scared of what he may do when I leave. However, I’m determined. I’ve written him a very long letter explaining why and promising that I don’t want any money from him, so he doesn’t have to worry about that. And I plan to give him this letter in the next few days. I want to hand it to him. I don’t want to be sneaky and leave the letter and walk out the door. But I’m afraid.
I don’t have anyone to discuss these things with. My mother said she didn’t want to hear it and it was my problem. Please help me. – Too Scared To Leave
Dear Too Scared: Please do not do anything rash. Before you leave, you need to have your next step planned and ready, whether it is finding a shelter, staying with friends or relatives, or leaving town. It would be unwise to hand your abusive husband a letter and walk out the door. We know you want to do the honorable thing, but your safety is more important right now. We urge you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1(800)799-SAFE. Someone there will guide you through the process.
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